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These appetizer cookies are just liked the thumbprint cookies my grandmother used to make and fill with strawberry jam - only a much more adult version! Those lucky enough to try one of these tasty treats will be surprised to find that these cheesey appetizers, studded with nuts and bejewelled with pepper jelly or other savoury jelly or salsa jam, are not to be saved for dessert. This is one cookie recipe that can be made only in a food processor and should certainly be paired with cocktails.
It is important that you use the best quality cheddar you have for full flavour. We filled our cookies with the 5 pepper jelly we preserved in September.
1-1/2 cups Shredded white old Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1 Egg yolk
1/4 tsp Chili powder (I used ancho chili powder)
1 cup All-purpose flour
1 cup Finely chopped pecans or unblanched almonds
1 cup Hot pepper jelly
In food processor, pulse together Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and butter until smooth. Add egg yolk and chili powder; pulse until blended. Add flour; pulse just until soft dough forms.
Place pecans on plate. Place 1 cup water in bowl. With hands, roll scant tablespoonfuls of dough into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls. Dip in water; roll in nuts to coat. Place on ungreased baking sheet. With thumb, make indentation in centre of each. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Bake in centre of 350°F oven for about 15 minutes or until firm outside and lightly golden. Let cool on baking sheet on rack. (Can be prepared to this point and frozen in layers separated by waxed paper in rigid airtight container for up to 2 weeks; bake in 350°F oven for about 3 minutes to recrisp.) Fill indentations with hot pepper jelly.
Makes about 36 pieces.
Note: For a simpler version just leave off the nuts.